Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons

Previous  |  Next

Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 354 - Is Mind the Enemy?  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: August 14, 2009

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

Q: Can we consider to be beneficial to consider the mind as the enemy, or in other words, as an obstacle to enlightenment? I presume this is so but just wanted to have your view on this.

I mean, I am not saying the mind is "evil", what I am saying is that it may be useful to be mindful of the mind's workings (nice circularity here ) and realize that it is doing its thing, i.e. judging, attachment, or inner chatting.

For example, we might catch the mind (actually it is doing it all the time!) saying, "Oh, I hate this?" or, "How did I come to this?" or, "I think she is not nice," etc., and notice it and go, "Ah, there is the mind doing it's thing" and then drop it. I think this is beneficial, opening up to a more extended awareness. I guess when all the objects of the mind are seen as such, we get close to realizing we are not our minds, and close to realizing what we finally really are.

Another thing: when we get to deeper levels of stillness in meditation, there is often subtler movements and distractions, and a certain fear. I think this is still the mind and we must continue to drop all this in favor of stillness, correct? I guess the fear is a fear of disappearing into the absolute nothingness?

A: Should the hammer become our enemy just because we keep hitting our thumb with it? It is only a hammer after all. Maybe take a closer look at who is using it? 

Likewise, the mind is only a thought machine, a marvelous computer. If we confuse our identity with it and allow it to run our life ragged, is that the mind's fault? Maybe take a closer look at who is using it? By making enemies of the mind or its creation, the ego, we are only reinforcing duality and suffering, the very situation we'd like to transcend. There are some teachings that go to lengths to demonize the ego in every avenue of life. To what avail?

I don't think that is what you are suggesting here though. You are seeing your mind, thoughts, and perhaps your ego, as objects of perception from the point of view of rising inner silence (the witness). This is a good thing, and sets the stage for self-inquiry, which you are already naturally doing in your comments here. 

Yes, we can drop what is not in our best interest, and we should.Favor what is real over what is not. But it is very difficult to drop (let go of) something we are hanging on to as an enemy. Witness is the key, which comes with the cultivation of abiding inner silence in deep meditation. Then we can let go much more easily andgravitate toward increasingly penetrating forms of self-inquiry (see Lesson 350).

We will directly experience "who" is behind all these desires, fears and judgments. That One is easily found by releasing the inquiry in stillness. We are That. 

The guru is in you.

Related Lessons Topic Path

Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum

Note: For detailed discussion on the role of the mind on our path to enlightenment, see the Self-Inquiry book and the Liberation book, and AYP Plus.

Previous  |  Next